If you grasp something in your hands, you hold it. Be careful when you hold the puppy — he's so wriggly, and you wouldn't want to drop him!

Hold also means to keep from exhaling. If you forget to hold your breath when you go underwater, you're sure to come up sputtering. The noun hold means the cargo area on a ship or airplane. When you check your bag, it's stored in the hold of the plane during the flight. If you packed your book and your snacks in it, it might make more sense to hold onto it instead.

Definitions of hold
  1. verb
    have or hold in one's hands or grip
    Hold this bowl for a moment, please”
    “A crazy idea took hold of him”
    synonyms: take hold
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    let go, let go of, release, relinquish
    release, as from one's grip
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    grasp, hold on
    hold firmly
    cling to, clutch, hold close, hold tight
    hold firmly, usually with one's hands
    hold gently and carefully
    hold a boxing opponent with one or both arms so as to prevent punches
    interlace, interlock, lock
    hold in a locking position
    hold or catch as if in a trap
    hold or place in or as if in a cradle
    latch on
    take hold of or attach to
    cling, hang
    hold on tightly or tenaciously
    hold firmly and tightly
    cuddle, draw close, nest, nestle, nuzzle, snuggle
    move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cozy position
  2. verb
    cover as for protection against noise or smell
    “She held her ears when the jackhammer started to operate”
    hold one's nose”
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    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  3. verb
    aim, point, or direct
    Hold the fire extinguisher directly on the flames”
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    type of:
    aim, direct, take, take aim, train
    point or cause to go (blows, weapons, or objects such as photographic equipment) towards
  4. verb
    be the physical support of; carry the weight of
    “The beam holds up the roof”
    “What's holding that mirror?”
    synonyms: hold up, support, sustain
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    provide with a scaffold for support
    support, secure, or raise with a block
    bear or be able to bear the weight, pressure,or responsibility of
    support on chocks
    buoy, buoy up
    keep afloat
    support on poles
    support with brackets
    support from beneath
    prop, prop up, shore, shore up
    support by placing against something solid or rigid
    support structurally
    support by bracing
    prop up with a pillow or bolster
    brace (an archer's bow) by pressing the foot against the center
  5. verb
    support or hold in a certain manner
    “She holds her head high”
    synonyms: bear, carry
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    hold or carry in a sling
    carry oneself, often habitually, with head, shoulders, and upper back bent forward
    support on the back and shoulders
    balance, poise
    hold or carry in equilibrium
    acquit, bear, behave, carry, comport, conduct, deport
    behave in a certain manner
    hold with difficulty and balance insecurely
    be flustered; behave in a confused manner
    assert, put forward
    insist on having one's opinions and rights recognized
    behave in a certain way towards others
    walk around
    behave in a certain manner or have certain properties
    pose, posture
    behave affectedly or unnaturally in order to impress others
  6. verb
    contain or hold; have within
    “The canteen holds fresh water”
    synonyms: bear, carry, contain
    contain, take
    be capable of holding or containing
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    hold back within
    confine, enclose, hold in
    close in; "darkness confined him"
    border, bound
    form the boundary of; be contiguous to
    enclose with banks, as for support or protection
    rail, rail in
    enclose with rails
    box in, box up
    enclose or confine as if in a box
    enclose in a frame, as of a picture
    type of:
    have as a part; be made up out of
  7. verb
    have room for; hold without crowding
    “The auditorium can't hold more than 500 people”
    synonyms: accommodate, admit
    contain, take
    be capable of holding or containing
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    be able to accommodate for sleeping
    contain or cover
    be able to seat
  8. verb
    be capable of holding or containing
    “The flask holds one gallon”
    synonyms: contain, take
    bear, carry, contain
    contain or hold; have within
    accommodate, admit
    have room for; hold without crowding
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  9. verb
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
    “She holds a Master's degree from Harvard”
    synonyms: have, have got
    feature, have
    have as a feature
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    keep, maintain, sustain
    supply with necessities and support
    hold on, keep
    retain possession of
    look after; be the keeper of; have charge of
    keep, maintain
    maintain for use and service
    have as a supply
    monopolise, monopolize
    have or exploit a monopoly of
    exert, maintain, wield
    have and exercise
    carry, stock, stockpile
    have on hand
    have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices
    have or possess something abstract
    support by being a patron of
    maintain by seeding without human intervention
    carry over, hold over
    hold over goods to be sold for the next season
    deny, refuse
    refuse to let have
    deduct, recoup, withhold
    retain and refrain from disbursing; of payments
    preserve, save
    to keep up and reserve for personal or special use
    conserve, keep up, maintain, preserve
    keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction
    hive away, lay in, put in, salt away, stack away, stash away, store
    keep or lay aside for future use
    find a place for and put away for storage
    hold back, keep back, retain
    secure and keep for possible future use or application
    harbor, harbour
    keep in one's possession; of animals
    keep up with financial support
  10. verb
    have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices
    “He held the governorship for almost a decade”
    synonyms: bear
    see moresee less
    type of:
    have, have got
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  11. verb
    have as a major characteristic
    “The novel holds many surprises”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  12. verb
    hold the attention of
    “The soprano held the audience”
    “This story held our interest”
    “She can hold an audience spellbound”
  13. verb
    drink alcohol without showing ill effects
    synonyms: carry
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    type of:
    booze, drink, fuddle
    consume alcohol
  14. noun
    the act of grasping
    “she kept a firm hold on the railing”
    synonyms: clasp, clench, clutch, clutches, grasp, grip
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    choke hold, chokehold
    a restraining hold; someone loops the arm around the neck of another person in a tight grip, usually from behind
    embrace, embracement, embracing
    the act of clasping another person in the arms (as in greeting or affection)
    wrestling hold
    a hold used in the sport of wrestling
    cuddle, nestle, snuggle
    a close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace
    clinch, hug, squeeze
    a tight or amorous embrace
    bear hug
    a wrestling hold with arms locked tightly around the opponent
    any of several wrestling holds in which an arm is passed under the opponent's arm from behind and the hand exerts pressure on the back of the neck
    Japanese stranglehold
    a wrestling hold in which the opponent's arms are crossed in front of his own neck to exert pressure on his windpipe
    any wrestling hold in which some part of the opponent's body is twisted or pressured
    scissor grip, scissor hold, scissors, scissors grip, scissors hold
    a wrestling hold in which you wrap your legs around the opponents body or head and put your feet together and squeeze
    a wrestling hold in which the arms are pressed against the opponent's windpipe
    a wrestling hold in which the toe is held and the leg is twisted against the joints
    type of:
    grasping, prehension, seizing, taking hold
    the act of gripping something firmly with the hands (or the tentacles)
  15. noun
    the space in a ship or aircraft for storing cargo
    synonyms: cargo area, cargo deck, cargo hold, storage area
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    type of:
    a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
  16. noun
    a stronghold
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    type of:
    fastness, stronghold
    a strongly fortified defensive structure
  17. noun
    a cell in a jail or prison
    synonyms: keep
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    type of:
    cell, jail cell, prison cell
    a room where a prisoner is kept
  18. noun
    the appendage to an object that is designed to be held in order to use or move it
    synonyms: grip, handgrip, handle
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    ax handle, axe handle
    the handle of an ax
    broom handle, broomstick
    the handle of a broom
    the stock or handle of a whip
    haft, helve
    the handle of a weapon or tool
    the handle of a sword or dagger
    hoe handle
    the handle of a hoe
    a round handle
    mop handle
    the handle of a mop
    the handle of a pan
    pommel, saddlebow
    handgrip formed by the raised front part of a saddle
    a handgrip that a gymnast uses when performing exercises on a pommel horse
    rake handle
    the handle of a rake
    the handle end of some implements or tools
    gunstock, stock
    the handle of a handgun or the butt end of a rifle or shotgun or part of the support of a machine gun or artillery gun
    basket hilt
    a hilt with a basket-shaped guard for the hand
    bitstock, brace
    a carpenter's tool having a crank handle for turning and a socket to hold a bit for boring
    butt, butt end
    thick end of the handle
    doorhandle, doorknob
    a knob used to release the catch when opening a door (often called `doorhandle' in Great Britain)
    horn, saddle horn
    a high pommel of a Western saddle (usually metal covered with leather)
    pistol grip
    a handle (as of a gun or saw) shaped like the butt of a pistol
    (music) a knob on an organ that is pulled to change the sound quality from the organ pipes
    type of:
    a part that is joined to something larger
  19. noun
    power by which something or someone is affected or dominated
    “he has a hold over them”
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    type of:
    power to direct or determine
  20. verb
    keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"
    hold in place”
    “She always held herself as a lady”
    synonyms: keep, maintain
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    pressurise, pressurize
    maintain a certain pressure
    bear on, carry on, continue, preserve, uphold
    keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last
    hold over
    keep in a position or state from an earlier period of time
    keep constant through physical or chemical reactions or evolutionary change
    keep undisturbed for personal or private use for hunting, shooting, or fishing
    keep at a distance
    maintain a household; take care of all business related to a household
    re-start, restart, resume
    take up or begin anew
    hang in, hang on, hold on, persevere, persist
    be persistent, refuse to stop
    cause to continue or prevail
    keep up, prolong, sustain
    lengthen or extend in duration or space
    preserve while making lifeless
  21. verb
    secure and keep for possible future use or application
    synonyms: hold back, keep back, retain
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    hold down
    type of:
    hold on, keep
    retain possession of
  22. verb
    arrange for and reserve (something for someone else) in advance
    “please hold a table at Maxim's”
    synonyms: book, reserve
    obtain or arrange (for oneself) in advance
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    hold open, keep, keep open, save
    retain rights to
    type of:
    bespeak, call for, quest, request
    express the need or desire for; ask for
  23. verb
    organize or be responsible for
    hold a reception”
    synonyms: give, have, make, throw
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    type of:
    be in charge of
  24. verb
    take and maintain control over, often by violent means
    “The dissatisfied students held the President's office for almost a week”
    defend, guard
    protect against a challenge or attack
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    type of:
    command, control
    exercise authoritative control or power over
  25. verb
    protect against a challenge or attack
    Hold that position behind the trees!”
    Hold the bridge against the enemy's attacks”
    synonyms: defend, guard
    see moresee less
    type of:
    protect, secure
    shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage
  26. verb
    lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits
    hold your tongue”
    hold your temper”
    synonyms: check, contain, control, curb, hold in, moderate
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    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
    conquer, curb, inhibit, stamp down, subdue, suppress
    to put down by force or authority
    restrain or discourage
    crucify, mortify, subdue
    hold within limits and control
    abnegate, deny
    deny oneself (something); restrain, especially from indulging in some pleasure
    place under restrictions; limit access to
    cause to grow in a certain way by tying and pruning it
    check oneself during an action
    moderate or restrain; lessen the force of
    control the temperature with a thermostat
    counteract, countercheck
    oppose or check by a counteraction
    blink, blink away, wink
    force to go away by blinking
    reduce, tighten
    narrow or limit
    limit or restrict to
    restrict (school boys') movement to the dormitory or campus as a means of punishment
    draw a line, draw the line
    reasonably object (to) or set a limit (on)
    mark off, mark out
    set boundaries to and delimit
    harness, rein, rule
    keep in check
    baffle, regulate
    check the emission of (sound)
    cramp, halter, hamper, strangle
    prevent the progress or free movement of
    dampen, stifle
    smother or suppress
    choke back, choke down, choke off
    constrain, stiffen, tighten, tighten up
    clamp down, crack down
    repress or suppress (something regarded as undesirable)
    hush, hush up, quieten, shut up, silence, still
    cause to be quiet or not talk
    constrict, inhibit
    limit the range or extent of
    get rid of, silence, or suppress
    keep from expression, for example by threats or pressure
    quell, quench, squelch
    suppress or crush completely
    constrain, cumber, encumber, restrain
    hold back
    muffle, repress, smother, stifle, strangle
    conceal or hide
    practice self-denial of one's body and appetites
    declare unavailable, as for security reasons
    declare as sacred and forbidden
    train on a trellis, as of a vine
    scant, skimp
    limit in quality or quantity
    localise, localize
    restrict something to a particular area
    type of:
    hold back, keep, keep back, restrain
    keep under control; keep in check
  27. verb
    keep from exhaling or expelling
    hold your breath”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    hold back, keep, keep back, restrain
    keep under control; keep in check
  28. verb
    keep from departing
    Hold the taxi”
    Hold the horse”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    keep, prevent
    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
  29. verb
    to close within bounds, limit or hold back from movement
    “This holds the local until the express passengers change trains”
    “About a dozen animals were held inside the stockade”
    synonyms: confine, restrain
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    bind, tie down, tie up, truss
    secure with or as if with ropes
    fetter, shackle
    restrain with fetters
    restrain or bind with chains
    pinion, shackle
    bind the arms of
    impound, pound
    place or shut up in a pound
    pound, pound up
    shut up or confine in any enclosure or within any bounds or limits
    fold, pen up
    confine in a fold, like sheep
    confine or restrict to the ground
    chain up
    tie up with chains
    faggot, faggot up, fagot
    bind or tie up in or as if in a faggot
    faggot, fagot
    fasten together rods of iron in order to heat or weld them
    tie together somebody's limbs
    cuff, handcuff, manacle
    confine or restrain with or as if with manacles or handcuffs
    type of:
    disable, disenable, incapacitate
    make unable to perform a certain action
  30. verb
    bind by an obligation; cause to be indebted
    “He's held by a contract”
    “I'll hold you by your promise”
    synonyms: bind, obligate, oblige
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    bind or secure by a pledge
    bind by a contract; especially for a training period
    indent, indenture
    bind by or as if by indentures, as of an apprentice or servant
    tie down
    restrain from independence by an obligation
    type of:
    have or establish a relationship to
  31. verb
    stop dealing with
    hold all calls to the President's office while he is in a meeting”
  32. verb
    cause to stop
    synonyms: arrest, halt
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    type of:
    cause to stop
  33. verb
    remain in a certain state, position, or condition
    “The weather held
    “They held on the road and kept marching”
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    type of:
    continue, go along, go on, keep, proceed
    continue a certain state, condition, or activity
  34. verb
    be valid, applicable, or true
    “This theory still holds
    synonyms: obtain, prevail
    see moresee less
    type of:
    be, exist
    have an existence, be extant
  35. verb
    be pertinent or relevant or applicable
    “This theory holds for all irrational numbers”
    synonyms: apply, go for
    apply, lend oneself
    be applicable to; as to an analysis
  36. verb
    resist or confront with resistance
    “The bridge held
    synonyms: defy, hold up, withstand
    see moresee less
    brave, brave out, endure, weather
    face and withstand with courage
    type of:
    hold out, resist, stand firm, withstand
    stand up or offer resistance to somebody or something
  37. noun
    a state of being confined (usually for a short time)
    “the prisoner is on hold
    synonyms: custody, detainment, detention
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the state of being confined
  38. noun
    time during which some action is awaited
    “he ordered a hold in the action”
    synonyms: delay, postponement, time lag, wait
    see moresee less
    a mutually agreed delay in the date set for the completion of a job or payment of a debt
    a legally authorized postponement before some obligation must be discharged
    the extent to which something is delayed or held back
    type of:
    break, intermission, interruption, pause, suspension
    a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
  39. verb
    maintain (a theory, thoughts, or feelings)
    synonyms: entertain, harbor, harbour, nurse
    see moresee less
    type of:
    experience, feel
    undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind
  40. verb
    assert or affirm
    “Rousseau's philosophy holds that people are inherently good”
    deem, take for, view as
    keep in mind or convey as a conviction or view
    see moresee less
    type of:
    affirm, assert, aver, avow, swan, swear, verify
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
  41. verb
    keep in mind or convey as a conviction or view
    hold these truths to be self-evident”
    “I hold him personally responsible”
    synonyms: deem, take for, view as
    see moresee less
    type of:
    consider, reckon, regard, see, view
    deem to be
  42. verb
    declare to be
    “judge held that the defendant was innocent”
    synonyms: adjudge, declare
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    acknowledge, admit
    declare to be true or admit the existence or reality or truth of
    declare to be obsolete
    bastardise, bastardize
    declare a child to be illegitimate
    declare legally insane
    declare in the capacity of an umpire or referee
    declare (a dead person) to be blessed; the first step of achieving sainthood
    canonise, canonize, saint
    declare (a dead person) to be a saint
    judge, label, pronounce
    pronounce judgment on
    cancel, strike down
    declare null and void; make ineffective
    formalise, formalize
    make formal or official
    ritualise, ritualize
    make or evolve into a ritual
    acknowledge a new land owner as one's landlord
    write off
    concede the loss or worthlessness of something or somebody
    annul, countermand, lift, overturn, repeal, rescind, reverse, revoke, vacate
    cancel officially
    make no bones about
    acknowledge freely and openly
    admit as valid
    concede, confess, profess
    admit (to a wrongdoing)
    confess to God in the presence of a priest, as in the Catholic faith
    confess, fink, squeal
    confess to a punishable or reprehensible deed, usually under pressure
    avouch, avow
    admit openly and bluntly; make no bones about
    acquit, assoil, clear, discharge, exculpate, exonerate
    pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
    find or declare guilty
    advertise in strongly positive terms
    find, rule
    decide on and make a declaration about
    pronounce fit or able
    declare unfit
    release from (claims, debts, or taxes)
    intonate, intone
    speak carefully, as with rising and falling pitch or in a particular tone
    write off
    cancel (a debt)
    annihilate, annul, avoid, invalidate, nullify, quash, void
    declare invalid
    make unavailable; bar from sale or distribution
    type of:
    evaluate, judge, pass judgment
    form a critical opinion of
  43. verb
    be in accord; be in agreement
    “I hold with those who say life is sacred”
    synonyms: agree, concord, concur
    achieve harmony of opinion, feeling, or purpose
    see moresee less
    differ, disagree, dissent, take issue
    be of different opinions
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    end a legal dispute by arriving at a settlement
    conciliate, make up, patch up, reconcile, settle
    come to terms
    see eye to eye
    be in agreement
    concede, grant, yield
    be willing to concede
    subscribe, support
    adopt as a belief
    conclude, resolve
    reach a conclusion after a discussion or deliberation
    arrange, fix up
    make arrangements for
    determine, settle, square off, square up
    settle conclusively; come to terms
    appease, propitiate
    make peace with
    stop blaming or grant forgiveness
    firm up
    arrange firmly
    make peace
    end hostilities
    arrange by concord or agreement
    dispose of; make a financial settlement
  44. verb
    remain committed to
    “I hold to these ideas”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    believe, conceive, consider, think
    judge or regard; look upon; judge
  45. noun
    understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something
    synonyms: appreciation, grasp
    see moresee less
    a natural appreciation or ability
    type of:
    apprehension, discernment, savvy, understanding
    the cognitive condition of someone who understands
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